Disturb not the harmony of fire, ice, or lightning.
Lest these titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash.
The water's great guardian will arise to quell the fighting
but alone it's song shall fail
thus the world shall turn to ash.
Many years ago a seeress in these lands gave the people this warning. I know not what it means but it has been passed down from generation to generation for millenia, so they must think it's important.
I'd love to go on a journey. Like the heroic katabatic trip to the underworld kind of journey. I'm no prophecied hero, or noble birth prince, or even a warrior. I'm just a poor stable boy son of the poorest innkeeper in the poorest village of the poorest country of the world.
We're so poor even rock soup is a meal for only special occasions. Our daily diet includes a glass of air for breakfast, a glass of dust for lunch, and a glass of dust with a saucer of clay for dinner. Even our guest's animals eat better than we do.
“Ash! Quit having an inner monolog and come get our new guest's Rapidash! Odd name for a horse though...”
Perfect, more work. At least a guest means we might get to have rock soup for dinner...
*********Meanwhile inside the inn.***********
“My son should be here shortly to take your horse to the stable.”
“Did you say your son's name was Ash, Innkeeper-san?”
“That I did, why do you ask, Mysterious Traveler-san?”
“Please, call me Alice. I'm actually a traveling seeress and I've been seeking a child of that name for some time now. Assuming he is the Ash I seek I have a message from the heavens for him.”
As I arrive at the entry to the inn to fetch our guest's horse I see a beautiful young woman. She looks to be around 20 years old, her silvery hair hangs to her shoulders, and she has an air of regality about her.
“Greetings. You must be Ash correct?” The regal lady greets me.
“um.. uh... y-Yes that's my name.” I've never been very good with speaking to women but that was just embarrasing...
“Yes, you are the one. Please come to my room after taking Rapidash to the stables.”
I stand there dumbfounded, barely holding her horse's rope, not knowing what to make of the Lady's statement as the Innkeeper shows her to her room. After about 10 minutes the horse starts dragging me towards the stable. I don't know how it did it... or even knew where the stable was for that matter but the horse puts grain in the feeder and settles itself down in a stall.
“You better get going, my master doesn't like to be kept waiting.”
I head towards the Lady's room. As I reach the door I realize something strange just happened...
“Did that horse just talk?” Did I just say that out loud?
“Oh, Rapidash saw fit to speak to you did he?”
I guess I did.
“I came as you asked, uhhh...”
“Alipheeze Fateburn XVI, but you can just call me Alice. Please come in, I have much to tell you.”
As I enter the room, I wonder just where have I heard the name Alipheeze before...
“Ash, I've come to tell you about a vision I've had concerning you.”
I remember where I've heard the name Alipheeze before now, that was the name of the seeress so many millenia ago...
“You're a man of few words I see. Let me start at the beginning, have you heard of the warning my distant predecessor Alipheeze VIII gave your people long ago?”
“Disturb not the harmony of fire, ice, or, lightning. Lest these titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash.”
“Perfect, that will save some time. I believe that the time for that prophecy to come true draws near. I also believe that your ancestors who recorded it may have made a small mistake when they did so. Do you remember the second stanza of the prophecy?”
“The water's great guardian will rise to quell the fighting, but alone it's song will fail. Thus the world shall turn to ash.
You believe the end of days is coming?”
“No, I believe that they misunderstood the prophecy. It didn't refer to “ash” as in the remains of a fire but to “Ash” as in a hero's name.”
“ “Ash” as in a hero's name? You came seeking me to tell this to... You think I'm supposed to be a hero?!?!?”
“You catch on quick, you're smarter than you look.”
I'm not sure if that was a complement or an insult...
“So what should I do about it? Start training in the art of the blade in case you're right? In case you hadn't noticed I can barely afford to eat much less obtain a sword and swordsmanship training....”
“Right again, though money isn't an issue. I believe the innkeeper might have been hiding something from you that will help.”
We speak at length of what the future may hold.
******Later that night******
I'm surprised a bit by the innkeeper's shout, I didn't realize it was getting that late.
“I think it's about time I told you the truth about your heritage Ash.”
“I'm not actually your parent, your real parents came here just before you were born. They were on the run from a massive flaming bird, I considered turning them away but for some reason I decided to allow your mother to stay so long as your father made sure the monstrous bird didn't destroy my inn.
They agreed to my offer, your father rode off leading the monster away while your mother took refuge here. About a month later your father returned, bleeding and nearly burnt to a crisp. He had with him only his sword, the head of the monster he led away a month before, a crystal, and a letter to your mother.
He told me to give all these things to your mother before succumbing to his wounds. I followed his directions, and delivered them to your mother.
She read the letter and then asked me to make her a promise. She wanted me to make a cloak from the head of the bird and give it, the crystal, and your fathers sword to you on the day that a woman name Alice came looking for you. When I asked her why she couldn't do it herself she replied 'My time in this world is drawing to a close, even now I feel Death hovering over me. I only hope that he waits until my son is born..'
The next day she gave birth to you, told me your name was to be Ash, and then sang you a song before dieing with you in her arms.”
As I wipe away my tears, the innkeeper get's up from the table.
“Come with me, I must follow through with my promise to your mother.”
I follow the innkeeper to the rear of the inn, my long believed to be parent then opens the door to a cellar I didn't even realize existed.
Inside was a shrine of sorts. A table in the center had a beautiful scabbard encrusted with a variety of gems including rubies, topazes, and sapphires. The sword within the scabbard has 3 large gems set in it's hilt. A ruby, a topaz, and a sapphire, I feel like there's some sort of theme going on here... Around the edges of the room are crystals of many colors, though all the same size and shape. They're spherical and about 4 ile in diameter. Except for one of them which looks like a diamond coat rack. On the crystalline coat rack is a cloak. The cloak appears to be encrusted with rubies, surprisingly there doesn't appear to be any topazes or sapphires.
“Wow, I thought you said there was only one crystal.... I also didn't think that my father's sword would be so beautiful...”
“I'm actually surprised myself, the sword was an extremely plain iron longsword when I brought it in here. There really was only one crystal then too, and the cloak I made was pretty poorly crafted too...”
“So Ash's father was the crystal warrior... I myself didn't believe the stories were true...”
Alice appears behind us.